May 2014 Archives

Handling Joint Bank Accounts During a Divorce

There is danger lurking in a joint bank account.  Both you and your spouse will be personally liable for any fees, charges, and overdrafts. It is not good enough to open a new account and have your pay directly deposited into your new account.  You will remain at risk until the joint account has been closed. As a general rule, banks will not let you simply remove your name from a joint account and thereby avoid any further liability on the account. Even if the account is awarded to your spouse in your divorce decree, that will not relieve you of obligation to the bank.  Only you and your spouse are parties to the divorce case. Thus, the court granting you a divorce has no authority to make any orders to the bank or any other credit entity or to any tax agency such as the IRS. The court may order your spouse to assume and pay all liabilities associated with the former joint account, but there is never any guarantee that your spouse will obey the court order.  The only way to protect yourself is to close the account as part of finalizing your divorce. For more information regarding this topic or any other property and assets concern you may have, call 972-569-3166 to speak with one of our Board Certified Family Law Attorneys today.

Retirement Benefits in Divorce

The community estate owns all the property acquired through the time, toil and effort of both spouses during marriage.  Thus, to the extent you have participated in any retirement plans through your employment during marriage, the resulting interest in the plan is community property, even though it may be unvested and will almost certainly be unavailable to cash in at time of divorce.

How to Protect Your Separate Property

The best ways to protect your separate property are by way of premarital and postmarital contracts, but those require the written agreement of both you and your spouse.  There are things you can do on your own which will help keep your separate property financial assets separate.

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